Important Factors Determining Child Custody

Important Factors Determining Child Custody

There are a number of factors for determining child custody following a divorce, separation, or other custodial dispute between unmarried parents. However, if a matter is contested in court, it will be a judge or commissioner that makes the ultimate decision about what custody and visitation orders are in the child’s best interest. But how is this decided?

While there is no way to guarantee any particular outcome related to the custody of your child in your specific case, since every judge and situation is different, there are normally a number of commonalities that judges will look for when making this decision.

Let’s learn what factors decide child custody.

How is Child Custody Determined?

Below are just some of the many factors to give you some idea of how a judicial officer determines child custody and visitation.

History or Evidence of Abuse

Obviously, any history or evidence of physical or sexual abuse are clear inidicators to the court that a parent is unfit to properly care for a child and have significant weight in the court’s decision.  


One commonly overlooked factor is the adjustment that a child might have to make following orders from the court. For instance, changing schools, losing friends, community participation, and other changes that a child might experience all factor into consideration if a child’s current living situation is going to change.

Living Accommodations

A judge will also look into each parents’ current accommodations and use that as one of the deciding factors. For example, a judge may want to ensure that a child will have his or her own room or personal space at both parents’ homes. Other elements that can influence this factor are the safety of the neighborhood, the quality of the schools, the surrounding community, and more.

Child’s Wishes

If the child is mature enough, many judges will want to hear the desires of the child and take their desire into account. If an older, more mature child can properly express a desire to live with a certain parent, it can be a significant determining factor in the judge’s overall decision.

Again, these are just a few of the factors for what determines child custody. If you want to learn more about what else to look or prepare for, please give us a call today or set up a consultation.

How Does the Judge Determine Child Custody?

The factors above are some of those considered by the courts, but are by no means comprehensive. Overall, all judges are different and all custody and visitation cases are unique to the children and the parents. Regardless, the judge will take all information presented and is charged with making a decision that is in the child’s best interest.  

Hart Ginney LLP for Child Custody Litigation

If you are looking for help with child custody and/or visitation, Hart Ginney LLP is here to help.

At Hart Ginney, we offer numerous legal services surrounding family law including divorce, child or spousal support, and child custody litigation. After seeing some of the many important factors for determining child custody, you may be looking for help for your situation. If that is the case, please give us a call today at (510) 628-0250 to set up your consultation.

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Oakland, CA 94612

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